Like a contestant on The Biggest Loser, Newmont Gold (NYSE:NEM) seems to be leaner and a more dynamic gold producer as each week passes.

The firm has edged out its gold hedges, providing increased leverage to the price of the yellow metal. It has moved aggressively into new grassroots exploration work in Ecuador and Miramar Mining's (AMEX:MNG) advanced-stage Hope Bay project up in the frozen North. And now, Newmont has made good on its intent to divest its entire portfolio of non-core assets.

On Monday, Franco-Nevada began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company spinoff will use the $1 billion-plus in IPO proceeds to buy the royalty interests to hundreds of resource properties that previously sat on Newmont's books. Sure, they generated cash flow, but these assets promised relatively little in the way of upside.

Franco-Nevada will be an interesting company to watch, given the involvement of not only former Newmont vice chairman Pierre Lassonde, but an ex-Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) CEO to boot. But I'm equally excited about what this development means for Newmont.

The divestment will free up capital to be redirected into Newmont's core business -- operating gold mines. Not only does the move make the company easier for investors to understand and value, it helps to streamline management of the business as well.

I was skeptical of the new management regime, but each successive step has been a welcome one, with the underlying rationale presented clearly and forthrightly. By the time the first quarterly results rolled in, I'd become a believer.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think it's smooth sailing from here. Just check out the firm's grim guidance to get a handle on the cost challenges faced by big producers like Newmont, Barrick, and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG). What I do believe is that this team now has the right mind-set to tackle these obstacles successfully.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a shiny disclosure policy.